THE CRAZY CAUCUS WELCOMES A NEW MEMBER…. Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, Ken Buck, Rob Johnson, and Pat Toomey help compose one of the nuttiest slate of extreme Senate candidates we’ve seen in a very long time, but there can be no doubt that Joe Miller’s application to the Crazy Caucus has already been approved.
Miller, of course, provided one of the year’s most unexpected results last week, apparently beating incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska’s Republican Senate primary. (The official results aren’t available just yet, but by all accounts, Miller is favored to prevail once absentee ballots are counted.) If he is the nominee, Miller’s extremism pushes the ideological envelope in new directions.
It’s easy to check off most of the routine garbage — Miller has birther tendencies, demands the elimination of all abortion rights (even in cases of rape or incest), wants to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act, rejects global warming science, wants to “transition out” Social Security, and is eyeing cabinet agencies for elimination, including the Department of Education.
But it’s his constitutional beliefs that help set Miller apart. In July, he rejected the very idea of unemployment benefits, insisting that they’re not “constitutionally authorized.” This does, by the way, make him more radical than Angle and Paul, who’ve denounced extended aid to the jobless, but haven’t rejected the policy itself as illegal.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You have also taken some fairly controversial, some would say, very extreme positions. First, you say you want to phase out Medicare. You want to privatize Social Security. I have to say there are a lot of people in Alaska who are on Medicare and are getting Social Security. Isn’t that position going to be a problem for you in the election, in this general election?
JOE MILLER: Well, yeah, and I would suggest to you that if one thing said the Constitution is extreme then you would also think that the founders are extreme. We just simply want to get back to basics, get — restore essentially the constitutional foundation of the country, and that means the federal government becoming less onerous, less involved in every — basically every item of our lives. And what that means is there does have to be some transition.
It’s hard to interpret this as anything but Miller characterizing Social Security and Medicare as being at odds with the Constitution — a position that positions him on the far fringes of American political thought.
I don’t want to get too far ahead of the official results — he’s ahead, but there’s a chance Miller may not win the primary — but it’s worth pondering whether this guy will actually become a United States senator. At this point, he’s the frontrunner.
A new survey from Public Policy Polling shows the right-wing lawyer leading Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams, 47% to 39%. It’s worth emphasizing, though, that this offers yet another example in which the radicalized GOP base has created a competitive race where there would otherwise not be one — Miller’s lead is in the single digits, while a Murkowski primary win would have made this race unwinnable for Democrats.